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Ikea: “We’re hiring for jobs that don’t exist today”

Ikea Australia last week announced plans to hire an additional 16,000 employees between now and 2030, as it looks to become a leading multi-channel retailer in Australia.

The new hires will staff Ikea’s growing store network – the flatpack furniture giant currently has 10 stores around Australia, as well as collection points in regional areas, and is reportedly looking to open a further five to six stores plus pop-ups – and expanding online business, which last year launched in Tasmania, Canberra and surrounding regional towns, Northern Territory, Queensland and Greater Sydney.

They will also fill some still-to-be-determined roles, as Ikea joins in the trend to turn stores into ‘experience centres’ and reportedly considers manufacturing some bulky products like mattresses locally, according to a report by 9News.

“We’re hiring for jobs that don’t exist today,” Ikea’s HR manager for Australia, Richard Harries told Internet Retailing.

“We see potential for our food business to expand, as our stores become experience centres, and our support centre will grow, as we interact with customers digitally – and then there’s the customer fulfilment piece,” he said, calling this a “big area of expansion”.

“The first part of [customer fulfilment] is a range of service offerings in terms of both installation and building. Today we use a whole bunch of external service providers that have a skillset in that area. We’ll continue to look to optimise that,” he said.

“The second piece is taking the lead in how customers get their goods home. So, no matter how they purchase [in-store or online], they have the possibility to get their goods home.”

Harries explained that ‘transferable’ skills – such as creativity, innovation and inter-personal savvy – will be as important, if not more so, for Ikea employees going forward, since the nature of work will continue to evolve.

“We hire for culture and values every day,” he said, adding that Ikea has long cultivated an entrepreneurial spirit internally.

“We know for sure that supports us in terms of what’s ahead in the future. We believe that a variety of skills and personalities are needed.”

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